An expanse rich in endemic species
These territories cover an area of 4.4 million km², equivalent in size to continental Europe, and have a combined Exclusive Economic Zone of over 15 million km², the largest in the world and anchored in all the oceans of the blue planet.
Europe overseas contain more endemic animal and plant species than are found on the whole of continental Europe. New Caledonia alone has about as many endemic species as the entire European continent, and French Guiana includes an area of Amazon rainforest the size of Portugal. Europe overseas also host more than 20% of the world's coral reefs and lagoons.
Main threats faced by EU overseas territories
The biodiversity of these entities is highly vulnerable to human induced impacts such as habitat destruction, alien invasive species, overexploitation of natural resources, pollution, and increasingly the impacts of climate change. They share these threats with other countries of their regions.
They are found in:
- biodiversity hotspots (the Caribbean Islands, Madagascar and the Indian Ocean Islands, the Mediterranean Basin, New Caledonia, Polynesia-Micronesia),
- major wilderness areas (Guyana shield), and
- key regions for polar ecosystems and fish stocks (Greenland, Falkland Islands (Malvinas), French Southern and Antarctic Territories, South Georgia).
Learn more about European overseas territories
Discover more about each of these 34 European overseas territories and regions according to region thanks to the posters below. Credits: Imre Sebestyén/UNITgraphics
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Overview map of EU overseas territories